Sunday 20:45: our journey started and the plane took off to Johannesburg. Excited and full of anticipation, we listened to African sounds on the airplane and were welcomed by the South African Airways crew. After 10 hours of flying and testing weird sleeping positions we ended up in Christmas-decorated Johannesburg.
After a short break we headed the rest of the way. The deeper the plane flew, the more we realised that we had really arrived in Africa. There was open landscape, red earth and a lot of small huts on the wide plateau as far as the eye could see. After various entry checks and formalities, we were greeted by UNICEF staff and drivers.
In a motorcade we went to the UNICEF office in Lilongwe. The people of Malawi are particularly friendly and welcoming, which our drivers proved directly. Positive and open-hearted, they spoke proudly about their country. We felt incredibly welcomed.
The UNICEF staff told us enthusiastically about their projects to promote education in Malawi. In the next days we will have the unique opportunity to learn more about these projects. One of the biggest challenges here in Malawi is pregnancy among young girls which makes them drop out of school too early. This vicious circle can only be broken by education.
Mahimbo Mdoe, Head of UNICEF Malawi, compared the situation in Malawi to Germany in the 19th century: it takes a long time to change the circumstances in society. It was inspiring to see how proudly the staff reported about the projects. They engaged us to be proud as well: every soft toy we sell helps them directly to do their work.